Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hard Case

I just discovered a publisher that has quickened my heart. Hard Case Crime Boy howdy. Blondes, bullets and bourbon I think the first book I am going to read is A Touch of Death, by Charles Williams. I have a few of his books in my library and when I saw the cover of this new publication, it beckoned to me. It Began As a Burglory...AND ENDED AS A NIGHTMARE!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Physics for Future Leaders

I have been listening to a podcast from UC Berkeley that is a recording of a physics class for non-science majors. The goal of this course is to cover the physics that future world leaders need to know.

One of the reasons I like the instructor is his view of physics in film. Some scientist see the errors in a movie, "That's not possible, it is against the laws of physics." On the other hand, Muller seeks to use physics to explain how that could possibly happen, he enjoys the movie :). A lot of people think Superman's X-ray vision is bogus because it is protrade like we see x-rays in a doctors office, but if Superman's eyes could eminate x-ray they he would truely be seeing a different specrum, something like when they x-ray you at the airport.

I've learned how heat pumps and refrigerators work. Why the Mini requires high octane gas. What makes a black hole black. The folly of developing a personal battery powered car given current technology. How airplanes fly (it is NOT from low pressure above the wing). Why the old VW bug got such great gas millage, can you explain air cooled?

The first 10 minutes of each podcast are full of wonderful and interesting things. Prof. Muller gets to class early to answer any questions posed by students. We learn a lot quickly and have our appetite whet for future lectures as well.

The first few lectures were very difficult to hear because of poor audio quality but they seem to be getting better. Maybe it is just me learning not to try to listen when driving over 45 MPH. He also spends several minutes a class attempting to debug an electronic quiz taking technology that I see is not being used this semester.

Prof. Richard Muller has written a book to go with the class; Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller.

Friday, January 26, 2007

American's Test Kitchen

Top 10 reasons why I like American's Test Kitchen.
  1. Its a TV show.
  2. All the recipes that I have made turn out well and taste incredible.
  3. It has a couple of Hitchcockian blondes.
  4. They test equipment objectively.
  5. They think like software test engineers.
  6. Quick tips that are useful and make me appear smart when I use them.
  7. Scientific explanations of what is going on with food.
  8. Sharon likes it when I cook for her and the Test Kitchen inspires me.
  9. Cook's magazine compliments it via content and format.
  10. They cook to eat and enjoy both the cooking and the eating. They don't get side tracked attempting to preach diet and nutrition. Or as Jackie says, "Real food that real people eat."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dutch Oven

Le Creuset 7 1/4-Quart Round French Oven I need a Dutch Oven. Here is a link to the one I have my eye on, Le Creuset 7 1/4-Quart Round French Oven, Cobalt Blue. The Dutch Oven is made out of cast iron to distribute and retain heat evenly, 14 pounds, and enameled to minimize the absorption of flavors. The heat resistant handles make it possible for the pot to go from the stove top directly into the oven.


Recipes to use the new pot:

Fahrenheit 451

It has been a few lives since I read Fahrenheit 451 in high school. After half a lifetime Bradbury's cautions and observations hold up and strike home surprisingly well. Although written over 50 years ago the tail is not dated. What struck me this time is how the population in the story had chosen the easy comfortable path at the expense of their autonomy. Turn on and tune out, happiness as defined by lack of discomfort and maximized distraction. How did Zappa put it?, "Get a job and do it right, hot dog TV tonight." [ed., actually the lyric is " Do your job, and do it right. Life's a ball! (TV tonight!)" from Brown Shoes Don't Make It.] At the end of the book Montag (the fireman) is listening to the wise one when this powerful concept is floated.
"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime." From Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, 1953.
Remember, be here now. Just stand. Don't do anything. Be yourself, not what you think you should be, not what you think I want to you be, just be yourself, nothing else. Just stand. (Fong Ha paraphrased, 2004) On the book CD read by Mr. Bradbury he pronounced the title as Fahrenheit 4 - 5 - 1 not Fahrenheit Four Fifty One.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mushrooms in the House

Nick Ochoa selling mushroom kits at Auburn Farmer's Market, December 2006.
Sharon bought a kit for growing oyster mushrooms in our house at the farmer's market this morning.
The kit comes with a plastic bag, filled with pasteurized straw and spawns and a second outside bag to keep moisture near the mushrooms. The spawn is the starter for the mushroom, the mushroom's tissue is being grown on millet grain as a starter. To make the kit the straw is pasteurized at 180° and cooled down to 80° before inoculating with the white colored mycelium. The directions suggest keeping the kit between 40 to 85°F and misting daily. Indirect sunlight during the day and dark at night.
Sharon setting up the kit.
Following directions, Sharon is misting inside the outside bag (humidity tent) with water each day. Searching for oxygen, the mushrooms are supposed to grow out of the tiny holes in the bag. The little mushrooms take seven to 14 days to get growing. We can expect 35 - 60% of the mushrooms in the first harvest with each subsequent crop being smaller.
It is recommended that you check and harvest your crop twice a day because when they start to mature they go fast. If you develop a green spot on your crop you have over watered. If there is not enough air circulation CO gas may build up and your shrooms will grow a thick base with a small cap like an angry penis.
I think we will start by sauteing the home grown mushrooms with a garlic. In time I'll make a batch of my scalloped potatoes with wild mushrooms. If you need the recipe comment and maybe I will post it for you.
The kits are produced by Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms, (916) 923-6406, Sacramento California.
Mass on our kit.


The blog account is setup. Be Good, Do Good was chosen as my tag line. My head is full of ideas, where to start. Post one, then posting too. Reading other blogs have shown me the sign to actually start mine. Eclectic subjects, horse before the kart. The back ground color has to be blue. At your feet, jaya

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

I am that I am

The 1954 Popeye cartoon Greek Mirthology depicts the fictional origin of spinach consumption in Popeye's family. Popeye's Greek ancestor, Hercules, originally sniffed garlic to gain his supernatural powers. When the evil Brutus removes the scent of the garlic using chlorophyll (an obvious incongruity), Hercules ends up getting punched into a spinach field, and, upon eating the leafy green substance, finds it empowers him many times more than garlic. In the consumption realm, in addition to Allen Canning's Popeye spinach, Popeye Fresh Foods markets bagged, fresh spinach with Popeye characters on the package. However, some have claimed that the "spinach" is in fact marijuana; apparently, "spinach" was a slang term for the drug in the 1930s, much in the way it is called "grass" and "weed" now. [Thanks to the mighty wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popeye.]